Buying and Moving and Babies, Oh My!
You're expecting! Congratulations! But now you need a new home to bring home your bundle of joy and the several bundles of stuff that comes with having a child. Seriously, how does something so small take up so much space? The question is, should you buy a new home and move before the arrival of your first born or wait until baby is here? No matter who you ask, everyone will have a different opinion. We share some of our thoughts about moving while pregnant and moving after your baby has arrived to help you decide.
Moving While Pregnant - Ups and Downs:
- Save your money! If you are renting, now is the time to make an investment in a home. Based on current housing trends in the local area, mortgages are cheaper than rent. Babies are expensive, and you can potentially save a couple hundred dollars or more a month by paying your mortgage instead of someone else's.
- You can organize and maybe spend less on baby gear. What’s better for your sanity in the early chaos of mothering than an uncluttered house? Let’s say you have a baby shower and you receive every co-sleeping, snuggling, distracting, milk-extracting item you could ever, or never, want, plus a diaper swan. If you move while pregnant, as you are packing up the truck you can donate those thoughtful yet useless items that you'll never use to a local charity group. Or if you have a friend who is also expecting, share the love and pass them on to her.
- No open house waits for a feeding or dirty diaper. If you’re actively searching for a home, you need to be ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Nursing, napping, and changings make it awfully hard to go anywhere without at least a 2-hour warning. You may spend a total of 20 minutes in a house before deciding to buy it - you need to capitalize on that time and make every second count.
- Nesting is no joke. You might reorganize the closets, cupboards, fold and reorganize mountains of baby clothes a million times, possibly even defrost the fridge. You won’t be able to curb the instinct. Research shows that the nesting instinct peaks in the third trimester - better to nest in the new place before the little one arrives.
- Postnatal recovery can take a lot longer than you think. Some women feel minor-to-moderate discomfort for weeks, some even face serious problems that can affect daily activity for months. One study suggests that it takes up to a year to recover. NOT moving boxes, cleaning and organizing a household after recently having a baby is probably best.
- You need every bit of sleep you can get. It has been said that a child's well-established sleep patterns can be disturbed due to a recent change in environment. Babies thrive on routine. If your baby has settled into a sleep rhythm, you’ll do anything to preserve it (anything!!). You may not be sleeping well now, depending on how far along you are, but you will almost certainly be sleep deprived once your baby is here.
Not convinced you should move before you have a little one? Here's why you're right:
- Bye-bye, baby bump! Even if you’re still in those weeks or months of recovery after childbirth, you won’t have that big baby bump to contend with as you sort and arrange your new space, making moving around much easier.
- Your aching back. The American Pregnancy Association advises pregnant women: Get someone else to do the heavy lifting. Doing so carries a heightened risk of premature labor, low birth weight, and hernia. No one wants any of that to happen.
- Hazardous chemicals and pregnancy do not mix. Nontoxic cleaners, such as vinegar, are safest for pregnant women to use. Pregnant women should avoid oven cleaners and products containing ammonia and bleach. As much as we aspire to have the greenest household on the block, some of those heavy chemical cleaners do a much better job. Using these chemicals near a newborn may also pose health risks, so if you are going to use them, perhaps the little one should go on a playdate with a family member while you deep clean the house.
- "Mom Friends". Having friends and a support system as a parent is paramount. Many neighborhoods have established mommy groups and playgroups that have social media pages. If you connect with them, you can find instant friends and support in your new community and your kiddo may make lifelong friends with their kids.
- You're going to experience some growing pains. Spend a month or two with your new addition in your current place, and you’ll notice that your new bundle of joy has a LOT of stuff and what used to work for you just doesn't any more. You'll find yourself complaining that you need a bigger kitchen, or a real laundry room, or an office now that your workspace has been usurped by a play area and diaper changing station.
- Newborns are easy! Usually…there are exceptions to this statement. Newborns are usually easy to manage, they basically just sleep, eat and poop. Keep them fed, warm, and dry, and they won’t even notice they are on the move. They may even help you unpack if they're a little older!
Let’s face it, no matter what decision you make as a parent, someone will tell you it’s the wrong one. Ultimately, this is a personal decision that only you and your immediate family can make. Go with your gut, even if your gut is hiding painfully behind your giant baby belly. Weigh all the pros and cons and go with what works for you.